Conversations About Fat

My first full day at Green Mountain at Fox Run, I attended a Conversation Cafe. Conversation Cafe is a facilitated, yet informal conversation about a particular topic. That day it was Myths and Realities About Weight.

We were shown clips from PBS’s Frontline program called Weight. It showed many fat athletes, who despite their high body weight & BMI, complete triathalons, marathons, and other events. Their blood counts, blood pressure, and personal physicians all testified to the fact that they were healthy.

A lot of women were astounded by this. I was not. Because of my passion for the Health at Every Size Movement, I know that body size is not an indicator of health.
We don’t expect people to fit into a certain height, why does society require people to be at a certain weight?
Dr. Rudolph Leibel said, “From mice and rats, we have learned that there are single genes that can cause very profound obesity, and we have found in every instance that there is a corresponding gene in humans.

If we went out on the street right now, and I showed you a group of adults with heights ranging from 4 1/2 feet to 6 1/2 feet or 7 feet, you would make no comment about this. It’s expected. We all expect to see wide variations in height. We accept that this is due to very strong genetic influences.

My perception of this is that there are equally potent genetic influences on body weight as there are on height. But the population, because of our lack of understanding of all the mechanisms, simply has not come to accept this yet.”

DR. RUDOLPH LEIBEL Division of Molecular Genetics Columbia University

In my own family, I have relatives that lived to be in their late 90s/early 100s, despite being 250-300 lbs. My great-grandmother lived to be 102, and outlived three personal physicians who told her to lose weight.

We know from science that obese people who exercise live longer than thin people that don’t.

Instead of focusing on the obesity epidemic, perhaps we should focus on the health of ALL individuals, promoting healthful nourishment & pleasurable movement.

There are many influences on weight:
Genetics/Body type
Set point
Dieting history
Activity & Calorie Intake levels
Stress levels
Thyroid Function

Perhaps we might be a bit more happy and healthy if we would pursue health at the size we are currently at, and put weight loss on the back burner.


About eatingasapathtoyoga

Learning to savor food, yoga, & life.
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5 Responses to Conversations About Fat

  1. This is SO true, and I find it very frustrating that more people don’t understand it. I talked about this a lot last summer when I was doing 12 Zumba and Zumba Toning classes per week. I could have easily run circles around so many of those who were judging me… Ah… I need to find Zumba classes down here!

  2. Debbish says:

    I like the health-at-any-size notion. I know a lot of slim or thin people who NEVER exercise, just as I know bigger people who exercise a lot. I agree that there are a lot of factors which need to be considered, but so many people make snap judgements based on the way someone looks!

  3. Charlotta says:

    Jill, thank you for all the great posts. I so needed that today!

  4. Kara says:

    My great-grandmother lived to be 102, and outlived three personal physicians who told her to lose weight.

    HA! Priceless!

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